I had my doubts when I saw this book. I mean, how does a wrestler go from being in the ring to writing children’s books? The last thing I wanted was another famous person to think they can just jump into the world of children’s books. Children’s literature means the world to me, so I am overly protective and skeptical when I see just anyone publish a book for those readers that I love so much.
Let me tell you, Elbow Grease blew me away! It is absolutely adorable, and I can see children of all ages really enjoying this book. Of course, there are minor things that I do not love, but honestly, that is probably me just being super picky over the books that I put in kids’ hands. Without a doubt, I would 100% recommend this book to lots of readers.
Elbow Grease tells the story of four brothers. Four brothers who are all monster trucks. Elbow Grease is the smallest of the brothers, but throughout the story, he is described as having gumption.
Elbow Grease is determined, and he never gives up, even when his bigger, faster, and stronger monster truck brothers all seem to be leaving him in the dust!
To prove himself, Elbow Grease decides to enter in a monster truck rally. Again, Elbow Grease is strongly outnumbered and overpowered. But, his gumption comes through again, and no matter how long it takes him to complete the race, Elbow Grease is determined to finish.
And finish he does! Elbow Grease is able to finish his race, and at the end of the story, he is met with the cheers and love of his brothers!
The four of them return home and all of them begin to put Elbow Grease’s trait of gumption into action by all practicing and preparing to become better monster trucks for all their races in the future.
Although this book does feature monster trucks as the main characters, I think all kids will love this book. The personification of the trucks makes this book enjoyable for boys, girls, and the grownups that read the books with them! I just loved the heart and relatability of Elbow Grease, and I know that other readers will absolutely fall in love with this character.
My favorite part of this story was so minor, but hugely impactful! It likely goes unnoticed by many readers. If you look closely to the illustrations, you will notice that the minor character of the monster truck’s mechanic is actually a female!
Yeah!!! I love, love when book characters get to reflect all types of genders. Girls can absolutely be mechanics, and I love those little readers will get to see this idea reflected in John Cena's story.
The illustrations in this story are adorable and very comic-like. I see the overall design of this story really connecting with any reader who reads this story. The design is bright and so kid-friendly. Howard McWilliam did a brilliant jump illustrating and designing the pages of this story. His interpretation of Elbow Grease and his siblings make this story so engaging!